After a brief hiatus since my last Arab British Centre Private View, I was keen to get down to “A Patch on my Evil Eye” on this breezy Thursday evening. The exhibition sets out to “challenge the worn stereotypes too often associated with the Arab world” through a display of work by six young artists: Ruba Asfahani, Juan Carlos Farah, Daniel Louis MacCarthy, Hazem Harb, Yazan Khalili and Noor Al Suwaidi. The brilliant variety of work in such a modest sized space was the first observation I made. Each wall was adorned with paintings, photographs, prints and the centre of the room had Emirati artist Noor Al Suwaidi’s unique “Head” sculpture on a pedestal
The works aim to shed light on the Middle East’s unsettled past and present socio-political events that are so often mistreated by the media to an ill-informed audience. The art forms range from abstract interpretations to photographs of Arabs in London shown in everyday circumstances, a theme which the media choose to conveniently ignore. Thankfully there are an increasing amount of creative artists and film makers who are using their work to articulate this much needed sense of positive social and political awareness.
Four Untitled works by Hazem Harb, a Palestinian artist previously featured in our blog from his exhibition at The Mosaic Rooms of the Qattan Foundation were on display. His large canvas piece is given pride of place on the same front wall in the gallery that was lit up for Sousan Luqman’s “Scheherazade’s Enigma” piece during my last visit to this same space.
The back wall had a distinctively London feel to it, with every image related to the city we all know and love. By pure coincidence, every piece on this “London” wall was also black and white. Curator Juan Carlos Farah, (or “JC”, as most people were referring to him) was exhibiting two of his large framed photographs which were particularly eye-catching. My personal favourite was “Maghrib Hyde Park” which featured three hooded youths in Hyde Park praying Maghrib as the sun sets. On first glance, these young men could be viewed by a passer-by as suspicious characters for congregating in the open space to incite violence, when in actual fact they are meeting to make a volitional connection with God.
It is wonderful to see the same space, one that is usually used for board meetings, being transformed to showcase these thought provoking Arab British themed works on a regular basis. The artwork featured are all for sale and you can view them on www.apatchonmyevileye.com. Do bear in mind that the curator Juan Carlos Farah and artists will be in attendance on May 17th for the panel discussion chaired by Saeed Taji Farouky at 6pm.
As always, keep checking back on our website for more details on the next exciting exhibition!
The Arab British Centre invites applications for exhibitions. Please contact us on 02078321310 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or an application form.
Images above from top to bottom:
Photography: Regarding Distance (b) | Yazan Khalili | 2010
Photography: Magrhib Hyde Park | Juan Carlos Farah | 2010